The Islamist War on Free Speech

Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa against Salman Rushdie and the massacre of the staff of Charlie Hebdo are well-known instances of Islamist use of violence, or threats of violence, to punish blasphemy. Less violent, but more insidious, have been other attempts to silence critics of Islam, including the separate convictions of two Austrian politicians for insulting Muhammad. Denis MacEoin comments on these and other incidents, and their implications:

The chief threat to free speech today comes from a combination of radical Islamic censorship and Western political correctness.

Over the past century and more, Western societies have built up a consensus on the centrality of freedom of expression. . . . [But] many Muslim bodies—notably the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)—have been working hard for years to render Islam the only religion, political system, and ideology in the world that may not be questioned with impunity. They have tried—and are in many respects succeeding—to ring-fence Islam as a creed beyond criticism, while reserving for themselves the right to condemn Christians, Jews, Hindus, democrats, liberals, women, gays, or anyone else in often vile, even violent language. Should anyone say anything that seems to them disrespectful of their faith, he or she will at once be declared an “Islamophobe.” . . .

The OIC has succeeded in winning a UN Human Rights Council resolution that makes “defamation of religion” (read: blasphemy in the eyes of its followers) a crime. But the OIC knows full well that only Muslims are likely to use Western laws to deny free speech about their own faith. . . .

The greatest defense of our democracy, our freedom, our openness to political and religious debate, and our longing to live in an open society without hindrance—namely freedom of expression—is now under serious threat. . . . Since the edict against Salman Rushdie, there is no way of calculating how many books have been shelved, how many television documentaries have never been aired, how many film scripts have been tossed in the waste bin, how many conferences have been canceled—or how many killers are waiting in the wings for the next book, or poem, or song, or sport that will transgress the strictures of Islamic law and doctrine.

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Charlie Hebdo, Freedom of Speech, Politics & Current Affairs, Radical Islam, UNHRC


Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security